Cambridge City crashed out of the FA Cup as Brightlingsea Regent returned home with a 4-3 win to progress through to the next round.
Once again, City boss Robbie Nightingale didnt have a full strength side to pick from as goalkeeper Liam Gooch was missing through suspension. Also missing was Salim Relizani with illness, and influential midfielder Ebby Nelson-Addy was unavailable. In his place, youngster Isaac Maynard was rewarded with a start and Ben Szreter stood in for Gooch.
The starting line-up was disrupted even further as Jack Wilkinson was forced to leave the field inside 15 minutes with a groin strain. Adam Capel came off the bench to replace him.
Aside from the substitution, City were doing well at containing their higher league opponents, and the Lilywhites took the lead in the 17th minute when Ben Robinson made an excellent run. When his cross was blocked, it fell to Isaac Maynard who supplied a great ball into the box for James Hall to head past James Bradbrook.
That lead though was short lived as the visitors were level 7 minutes later. The City defence allowed a ball to be crossed from the left, and Matthew Baxter was on hand to convert the ball past Srzreter at the near post.
The game was now opening up, and James Hall was looking a constant threat for City. He was the provider of a cross in the next opportunity as he almost picked out Ryan Sharman. Then, in the latter stages of the half had a good chance when he had a shot saved from inside the area by Bradbrook.
With just two goals in the first half, you would have been hard pressed to find someone in the ground who would suggest there would be another 5 in the second period.
But the first of those came 2 minutes after the re-start and it was Hall involved once again when he had an initial shot blocked by Bradbrook. On the rebound he showed good awareness to pick out Sharman who made no mistake to head City back into the lead.
However, it was history repeating itself as just 6 minutes later Brightlingsea were once again back on level terms. This time an excellent break picked out substitute Jake Clowsley who found himself in acres of room. With Szreter off his line attempting to narrow the angle, he made no mistake in restoring parity.
City had the next chance when Nathan Oluknami picked out Hall but once again Bradbrook was on hand to deny the City striker. But it was Brightlingsea who then got in front for the first time when Ben Robinson gave away a needless free kick. The ball was played into the box, and the Lilywhites defence couldnt clear their lines, and it fell to William Hunt who fired the ball home from the edge of the area.
The Lilywhites were now chasing the contest for the first time and they had a good opportunity to pull level when the ball fell to Isaac Maynard, but his effort went narrowly wide of the post.
However, City then found themselves further behind as the match entered the last 10 minutes. Jordan Gent appeared to be harshly penalised for a challenge in the box, and Hunt made no mistake to convert the penalty for his second of the game. Things then got worse for City as Gent was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence. This was remarkably the third sending off for City this season a statistic made even more remarkable that the Lilywhites didnt have one dismissal during the whole of the previous campaign.
To their credit and with 10 men City set-up a grandstand finish as they were themselves awarded a penalty as the match approached injury time. Sharman stepped up and made no mistake. The match could have even finished 4-4 as the Lilywhites almost forced a couple of good openings in the dying moments, but it wasnt to be and their FA Cup dreams were extinguished for another year.
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